Exhausted, we arrived at your airport to an amazing chorus of screams, Santa Claus beards, welcome signs and excitement.
And from there you only got better.
For two and a half months, you were our host.
Treating us like kings and allowing us to only see the best of you.
Our family (Jodi & Brendan) and their friends (Brent & Belinda - and also Keiva, Steve, Jake, Em & Glenn) are something special. Beyond.
We became part of theirs and that won’t soon be forgotten.
They took complete care of us.
You were mountain biking and road cycling.
Scootering to school in our uniforms and yoga’ing whenever it suited.
‘It's all mental, bro.’
We saw the best of your landscape and were awed by your views.
The greeny-blue water. The brown and green countryside.
Hills and mountains appeared to grow right out of your flat valleys.
We climbed to meet your glaciers, rode up to your passes. Then breathed it all in.
Looking out over you, we were never disappointed.
Christmas in the upcoming years will always be compared to the one you gave us.
Right on the ocean. Trailer park glamping, like it was nobody’s business.
You gave us sun, warm weather and Santa.
We brought the good stuff. A horse trailer loaded with BBQ’s, bikes and chaos.
It was perfect.
We were able to shear sheep, ride horses and fish for eels.
Cruise on dirt bikes and 4-wheelers.
Hunt ‘pests’. With guns. Big guns.
Rabbits, hares and possums be damned.
Your Mother Nature humbled us. We saw what she’s capable of.
The earthquakes? Those you can keep.
But we’ll take the rest.
We rendez-vous’d with friends who introduced us to maple syrup whiskey and beard oil.
Walking boardwalks, you held our hand in your own special way.
We watched Venice beach sunsets and imagined what might come next.
And left, always wanting more.
The beauty of Mt. Cook surprised us. We weren’t expecting that.
A random stop on the way to Wanaka. Then a day of exploring.
We ordered room service. Cheese toasties with fries.
And had the best sleep over slumber party.
We saw Cirque de Soleil, played cricket, went ice skating and were serenaded by the chorus of your cicadas.
Fortunately Gaga and Papa shared two weeks with you, too. With us.
You introduced us to another Sully, one from just north of Toronto even.
Justin Bieber was always on your playlist. What do you mean? We loved it.
And we watched a Hello Goodbye episode from as far away from where we said goodbye as possible.
Our cousins became our siblings and we bickered like it was so.
But all was forgotten as we slept in each others bed at night.
Then woke and pressed repeat every morning.
The older siblings shared memories of growing up...from different points of view.
They settled back into their lifelong relationship. Of course they did.
Casually taking the piss out of each other as quickly as praising one another.
Dinner time could be a shit show or could be amazing.
Flip a coin. With 5 kids, no one ever knew what was going to happen.
We laughed and we cried and we whined and we argued and we laughed some more.
All was done at the loudest volume.
And with the most love.
You were good to us, NZ The very best even.
A time we’ll remember forever. Yep, forever.
We hope we didn’t wear out our welcome.
We’ll be back, for sure.
Max, Sully & Jay. xo